Scott McTominay has been hailed by former Manchester United star Darren Fletcher for shaking off the “stick” which came his way early on to become “the first name on the team sheet”.
A Red Devils academy graduate was introduced to the first team fold during Jose Mourinho’s reign at Old Trafford.
The Portuguese showed considerable faith in the promising midfielder, but questions were asked of his ability to deliver at the consistently high levels demanded by a Premier League heavyweight.
McTominay has started to silence any doubters, with a fine goal recorded in his most recent outing against Arsenal, and Fletcher believes he can become a key figure for Ole Gunnar Solskjaer.
A man who stepped out of United’s youth system himself to become an all-action midfielder for the Red Devils and Scotland told talkSPORT of a player treading a similar path: “He looks like the first name on the team sheet.
“From the games I’ve seen, like Leicester, it was a bit flat and he went thundering into a tackle and got the crowd up.
“He’s a little bit old school. He’s got drive and he gets on the ball and doesn’t hide.
“His goal was fantastic and he’s starting to find his voice as well; you can see his arms pointing at people and different things like that. It’s fantastic to see.
“Obviously he is the one who has confidence in his game now and he’s taken the onus on himself to drag the rest of the team with him.
“Credit to the lad because he was getting a bit of stick when he first came into the team, as everyone does as the pressure is big, but he’s come through that and now is definitely leading this Manchester United team.
“Others should look to him to know how to do it.”
McTominay is one of a number of youngsters being given regular game time by Solskjaer this season, with United seeking to replicate the success once enjoyed with their fabled Class of ‘92.
Fletcher added: “The difference these young lads have got is that all those young players, and myself, we came into a team with men – established winners and world-class players – who carried the burden and the pressure for us.
“We floated under the radar and it was easier.
“Whereas these lads are dealing with that pressure straight away themselves, and it is pretty difficult as a young player.
“You might have two or three good games but then a bad game as the consistency is not there yet.
“But the positives this season for Manchester United have been the young players – especially McTominay. He’s been a standout player from day one this season; he drives the team forward and tries to make stuff happen.
“It’s great for Manchester United’s future with the academy, but with young players you just have to be patient. And when you are playing for Manchester United not many people have got patience.
“That is the challenge laid down to them; they know that and they try their best and will get there, hopefully sooner rather than later.”